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Microsurgery. 2017 Jan;37(1):29-33. doi: 10.1002/micr.22404. Epub 2015 Mar 16.

Lymph node flap transfer for patients with secondary lower limb lymphedema.

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Plastic Surgery Department, Medical School of the University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa, Hospital Sírio-Libanês, São Paulo, Brazil.
Lymphoedema Center, Clinique Jouvenet, Paris, France.



Previous authors have shown benefits from the use of lymph node flap transfer (LNFT) to treat lymphedema of the arms, but there is little evidence for its use for lower limb lymphedema. We performed a retrospective analysis of a series of patients suffering from secondary lower limb lymphedema treated with a free LNFT.


52 cases of LNFT to treat 41 legs in 38 patients with secondary lymphedema were retrospectively reviewed. The causes of the lymphedema included lymphedema secondary to hysterectomy for uterine cancer, melanoma resections on the leg, lymphoma treatment and testicular cancer, cosmetic surgery to the limb, lipoma resection at the inguinal region, and a saphenectomy. Patients had been suffering with lymphedema for an average of 9.1 ± 7.3 years at the time of LNFT.


Eleven patients (28.9%) presented with minor complications treated conservatively. For 23 legs there was enough data to follow limb volume evolution after a single LNFT. Total volume reduction in eight legs (two patients with no measures of the healthy limb and three bilateral) was 7.1 ± 8.6%. Another group of 15 patients with unilateral lymphedema had an average 46.3 ± 34.7% reduction of excess volume. Better results (>30% REV) were associated with smaller preoperative excess volume (P = 0.045).


Patients with secondary leg lymphedema can benefit from LNFT. Results in patients with mild presentations seem to be better than in more severe cases. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microsurgery 37:29-33, 2017.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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